First Line provided by @AVChrista
“It’s Friday!” exclaimed Amanda. “My letter will arrive today”.
She had been expecting a letter from the lawyers, telling her details about her grandfather’s will. She was also hoping for a letter from her beloved Darren, who was doing his summer internship in Nova Scotia. Her excitement was bubbling over at the possibility of two letters, that Amanda did not know what to do. So she did what she always did when her nerves got the best of her. Going to her collection of cookbooks, she looked to see which one to pour through that morning. Just as she sat down at the table, her doorbell chimed.
Her postman, Luke, smiled, “Got a certified letter for you.”
Amanda’s face lit up as she signed for the letter. She closed the door and looked at the sendee’s address. She wrinkled her brow in confusion. She didn’t recognize the address or the handwriting on the envelope.
“Who could this be from?” Amanda wondered as she opened the letter. “What the… New York City?” she read aloud. Amanda pulled at the tab and peered inside. No letter, only a micro cassette with a post it “play me.”
Amanda laughed, “What is this, Alice in Wonderland?”
She grabbed her tape player and stuck the cassette in without hesitation.
A voice came out of the speakers asking her, “Do you know someone named Darren?” with maniacal laugher in the background.
Darren? Darren was supposed to be in Nova Scotia. What was going on?
The voice on the tape began again: “WE HAVE HIM.” A chill ran up her spine. The voice went on: “YOU MUST SAVE HIM. ONLY YOU.”
Amanda’s hands were trembling. This was a joke, a sick prank. But her heart was hammering and she felt nauseous. The message continued, “If you want to see him again, follow these instructions.”
Amanda’s cell phone started beeping. Amanda jumped and dropped the tape recorder. The voice continued uninterrupted “Pick up your phone, Amanda.”
She reached into her pocket and saw it was the attorney’s office calling. Amanda tried to keep her voice steady, “Hello?”
“Hi, Ms. Dunning. This is Debbie from Mr. Hughes office. Mr. Hughes would like to see you regarding your grandfather’s will. Mr. Hughes would like to meet you at 2:00 this afternoon.” It sounded more a demand, than a request.
The voice on the tape continued, “Take the money from your grandfather and bring it to New York. You will be met at the airport.”
“Ms. Dunning?” Debbie, on the phone said impatiently, “May I confirm your appointment? It’s very urgent.”
“I…” Amanda stared at the tape recorder on the floor.
The voice spoke again, “Confirm your appointment with Debbie, Amanda.”
“Yes, 2:00 will be fine.” replied Amanda.
“Good girl.” said the tape recorder. The recording went on “Once you arrive at the airport, go to locker A345 to locate the meeting & further instructions. Oh, and by the way,” the voice said, “Darren says hurry.” Then all that was left was static.
“Oh my god! How am I going to get to NYC from Charlotte?” said Amanda. She looked at the clock & realized she had to hurry. She threw some clothes into a bag and drove like a mad woman to the attorney’s office downtown. She got to the office right on time and met with Mr. Hughes.
“Have a seat, Ms. Dunning.” he said.
“I’m actually in a rush.” Amanda said.
“I know you are.” Mr. Hughes said, handing her an envelope, “This came for you.” Inside was a plane ticket to New York leaving Charlotte at 5pm. Mr. Hughes continued, “Your Grandfather left you a very wealthy woman. Out of his estate he bequeathed the sum of $1m to you.”
Amanda knew her Grandfather to be a penny pincher her whole life. “How is that possible! He lived in a 2 bdroom apt, he cut out coupons for crying out loud!” she exclaimed. “All I was expecting was a token momento.” Amanda had to sit down. “What about his wife and her son?” she asked.
Mr. Hughes looked her squarely in the eyes, “He left them nothing.”
Then it hit her. “Do they know?” Amanda asked softly, afraid that she already knew the answer.
“They were informed a week ago.” Mr. Hughes said. “The money has been wired into your account.” Mr. Hughes said, “It’s available whenever you need it.”
Amanda knew what she had to do. She thanked Mr. Hughes and hurried off to catch her plane.
Central Park seemed cold and dreary, even in the middle of the hot July night. Amanda sat on the designated bench and waited. She heard the hesitating footsteps coming up behind her.
“Stay where you are and don’t turn around. You bring the money?” The man’s voice was shaking. Amanda had only met her grandfather’s stepson Greg once, but she thought she recognized the voice.
Amanda’s voice didn’t falter “I’ve got the money but I want to see Darren, Greg.”
There was a long pause. Amanda’s heart pounded.
“I… You’ll see him when I see the money!” Greg yelled, obviously flustered.
Amanda wasn’t sure if she should call his bluff. She knew Darren was in Nova Scotia. She’d called on her way to the airport. But at the same time, she didn’t know how desperate Greg was or if he was armed. Amanda straightened her back, not caring anymore what happened to her, only wanting to have justice done to Greg & his mother for all the humiliation her grandfather had suffered at their hands.
“I want to see him RIGHT NOW!” she yelled, turning to face him.
With that cue, the police converged on Greg. He was unarmed and his jaw dropped in surprise before he was forced to the ground and cuffed.
As he was lifted to his feet, he screamed out, “Where’s my money? Where is it?!”
“Not here.” Amanda said, emptying the bag, which was filled with nothing but blank paper, “And nowhere you’ll ever get to it.”
Amanda looked at him with disgust as the police led him away. He didn’t resist as he saw his efforts would be futile. Greg started sobbing, choking out “My Mom made me do it. I want my Mommy.”
The policeman, not able to contain his grin, said “And where can we find your Mommy so we can bring her to you?”
Amanda couldn’t help but giggle, the day’s tension finally draining away from her. She pulled her cell phone out of her purse and punched in Darren’s number.
“Everything ok, babe?” Darren asked.
Amanda smiled, “Yeah, I think it is. Please tell me you’re coming home soon.”
Minor editing (punctuation, capitalization, etc.) was done before this story was posted, to allow for easier reading. No words were removed from or added to this story after its original posting on Twitter.
Thanks everyone for a great story! See you next week!